FACULTY SENATE MINUTES

May 5, 2004

Officers attending: Pam Chambers, President; Cindy Beckett, President Elect; Fred Thomas, Secretary

Senators attending: Jim Brooks, Frank Clay, Myra Grinner, Kenneth Melendez, Jackie Myers, Nick Reeder, Shari Rethman, Marsha Wamsley, Charles Williams

Senators not attending: Susan Callender, Ellen Rosengarten, Marti Shapiro

Others attending: Tom Huguley, Laurel Mayer

 

Pam called the meeting to order at 2:32 in Room 6142

1.      Instructional Plan (Dr. Huguley)

Pam welcomed Dr. Huguley, who distributed copies of an early draft for Sinclair’s Instructional Master Plan. He asked that Senators provide input to help in further development of the Plan, but he asked that the draft not be widely distributed in its current form.

Dr. Huguley explained that Sinclair has taken on a very ambitious task in seeking to create an Instructional Plan that will guide the overall operation of the College. President Johnson wants to make instruction the center, with instructional planning carried out prior to yearly budget planning.

Dr. Huguley reviewed the draft Plan in detail with Senate. The document includes eleven draft “Strategic Directions for 2004-06” (which were derived from earlier work on “rocks,” the Constellation Survey and other College activities) and eleven draft “Operational Priorities for 2004-05”. Also included are “Process Change and Policy Priorities,” “Resource Requirements” and “Marketing Priorities” for 2004-05. In addition, the draft Instructional Plan incorporates “Division Business Plan Initiatives” for 2004-05.

Senators asked several questions about the draft and made numerous comments. Cindy noted that several of the draft’s Operation Priorities deal with areas in which it would be particularly appropriate for Faculty Senate to play a leading role. Dr. Huguley requested that Senators email additional comments to him by May 14th.

2.      Minutes from April 28

Cindy moved to approve the minutes from April 28th as distributed. The motion passed.

3.      OATYC Nomination Discussion

Pam reported that she had received some nominations but several other people still plan to submit nominations. Senate agreed to extend the deadline for nominations until May 19th, when Senate will vote to select Sinclair’s nominees for the statewide OATYC outstanding full-time and part-time faculty awards.

4.      Announcements

4.1.           Pam reported that the Delta Team (Sinclair’s President, Vice Presidents and Deans) asked to delay its meeting with Faculty Assembly until after May 27th when the FITs Team will meet. Faculty FITs members have met several times, but it has been difficult to schedule a meeting with administrative members. After discussion Senate agreed to go ahead with the Faculty Assembly meeting scheduled for May 12th using a revised agenda. A separate Assembly meeting will be scheduled for after May 27th.

4.2.           Divisional elections for Senators and other offices are proceeding under direction of Cindy as Senate Vice President and the junior Senators from each division. Marsha made a motion to conduct the college-wide elections on Monday and Tuesday, May 24th and 25th. Shari seconded the motion and the motion passed.

4.3.           Pam and Cindy reviewed the preparations for the Presidential Inauguration, May 14th.

5.      Office Hours

Pam reviewed the Faculty Handbook section 2.4.4 which says:

Each faculty member is expected to schedule, post and maintain a minimum of one office hour for each of five days per week on days in which classes are in session. These hours should be arranged to serve the convenience of the majority of each individual faculty member’s students. Additional office hours should be made by appointment. The minimum one office hour per day should be maintained in the faculty member’s regularly assigned office or teaching area.

Pam said that enforcement of the policy seems to vary substantially across campus. She said that some of the questions being raised include:

Is the policy being implemented in a student-friendly way?
Do distance learning faculty need another alternative?
How does the policy apply to faculty who teach on weekends?

Jim emphasized the importance of serving the majority of students and described a possible alternative policy that would allow greater flexibility. Shari and Ken supported the principle that the faculty member’s real availability to students is the key. Frank and Cindy noted that other aspects of the schedules for both faculty and students sometimes make it difficult to communicate face-to-face during the scheduled hours. Nick said that a shift from scheduled hours to hours “by appointment” could inhibit some students and that there needs to be a clear definition of any “virtual office hours.” Jackie and Myra described current and possible ways in which office hours might be conducted online. Shari said that the current requirement for office hours during summer terms should also be reexamined. Pam emphasized that any new system should provide students with clear information about how they can communicate with their instructors.

At Pam’s request, Jim agreed to prepare a written proposal to revise Handbook section 2.4.4.

6.      Class Meetings

Pam said that there has been concern that some faculty members are not physically meeting all scheduled class sessions, sometime setting up unofficial “virtual classes.” The Faculty Handbook specifies in section 2.11.4 that departures from the schedule (such as early dismissals or field trips) should be arranged with the chairperson and approved in advance by the dean. Faculty who plan to attend meetings or conferences are to make arrangements for their classes in advance with their dean or chairperson.

The discussion was tabled because of the late hour.

7.      Continued discussion on a comprehensive evaluation/assessment plan

Deferred.

8.      Open Forum

8.1.           Nick shared a concern expressed by faculty about the possibility of being required to teach more than five days per week. Although the situation has not yet occurred, the expansion of Saturday and Sunday course offerings has led some to ask if they might be required to teach six or seven days per week.

Cindy and Pam replied that the general practice seems to be for chairpersons to consult with the faculty about possible weekend teaching assignments and often to “trade” a normal weekday for the weekend classes. Laurel said that a strict interpretation of the Handbook probably could allow a chairperson to assign a faculty member to teach more than 5 days per week, and he suggested that it might be appropriate to revise the Handbook to specify a 5-day maximum for assigned teaching.

8.2.           Fred said that he had reviewed data from the AAUP’s annual salary report and distributed a brief summary (attachment FSMA20040505-08A). He said that Sinclair’s 2003-04 average salary for tenure-track faculty is at 106.8% of the benchmark and he compared that to the previous target of 113.85%.

8.3.           Cindy emphasized that there are many important faculty appointments in addition to the various elected positions. In particular, she intends to use the Resource and Personnel Committees extensively during her service as Senate President. She asked Senators to provide her with names of faculty who would like to serve on these or other committees.

 

The meeting adjourned at 4:35.

Submitted by Fred Thomas

Approved by Senate May 19th, 2004